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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dhoni urges team to back basics and play 'expressive cricket' in New Zealand

Dhoni urges team to back basics and play 'expressive cricket' in New Zealand

Last updated on: January 12, 2014 00:52 IST

Dhoni wants pacers to bowl better on dry pitches

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Harish Kotian

MS Dhoni wants India's spinners to understand their roles while bowling overseas. He also advised the batsmen not to waste too much on their techniques when playing away from home, reports Harish Kotian.

Ahead of the upcoming tour of New Zealand, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni called upon his fast bowlers to improve their showing, especially on wickets not offering them much assistance.

“There is one particular condition we have to improve... which is on wickets which are on the drier side and just have a bit of bounce on offer and not too much of seam movement; there is one area where we have to improve when it comes to our fast bowling department.

“The reason being, most of our bowlers aren’t those who hit the surface. Most of them are those who swing the ball and bowl slightly up to the batsman. At times, we encounter wickets that are on the drier side and you have to bang in the ball to get bounce and pace.

“That is one condition where we need to slightly improve when it comes to the fast bowling department. Overall, I am happy with the bowlers and batsmen in the South African series,” said Dhoni, in Mumbai on Saturday, on the eve of the Indian team’s departure.


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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'I think the batsmen did well in South Africa'

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Harish Kotian

India lost the two-Test series in South Africa 1-0. After the first match ended in a thrilling draw in Johannesburg, the Proteas won the second in Durban by 10 wickets.

But Dhoni said he is proud of the team’s performance, pointing out that it gives them confidence ahead of the New Zealand series.

“I think the batsmen did well in South Africa; they handled good fast bowling and at the same time they were quite positive.

“There were quite a few things that happened in South Africa that gives us the confidence of saying that we have the talent of doing well anywhere in the world. Now we know we have got a set of players who will do well irrespective of how we are playing and that is a big positive,” he said.


Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: Ihsaan Haffejee/Reuters

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Not to tinker too much with techniques

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Harish Kotian

Dhoni advised his batsmen not to waste too much time working on their techniques when touring abroad, but play their natural game.

“What I feel is very important when we are touring abroad, as an individual, is not to think too much about the technique; that is a trap some of the cricketers fall into. Yes, you want to tune up your game a bit, tinker around your game a bit, but at the same time your basics will be your basics. So it is important to back yourself and at the same time play expressive cricket.

“If there is a shot that you play, and which is your strength, and if it is not there you should still go for it. It is all about backing yourself and backing each other at the same time. I think that was one area where we did well in the last series in South Africa, especially in the Test matches,” he said.


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Hitesh Harsinghani/Rediff.com

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Getting acclimatised

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Harish Kotian

Dhoni believes that the tour, which starts January 19 and comprises of five One-Day Internationals and two Test matches, should help the young squad get acclimatised to the conditions ahead of the 2015 World Cup next year in Australia and New Zealand.

“In terms of experience too, the next World Cup will be held in Australia and New Zealand, so most of the players will get a feel of the conditions there. I remember when I went to New Zealand for the first time I was confused with some of the fielding positions because of the unusual shape of some of the grounds there. 

“So when we used have a short fine-leg, we had to keep him so wide that from the wicketkeeper’s angle he was almost at square-leg, but still the ball kept going to him. It does take some time to get used to it, but it will be good exposure,” he said.


Photographs: Marty Melville/Getty Images

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Dhoni in favour of spinning tracks

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Harish Kotian

The skipper revealed he is in favour of preparing turning tracks at home to suit the team's strengths, as all the teams tend to do the same.

“It is important to hold on to our heritage and take advantage of the home conditions, and at the same time keep improving so that we do well whenever we tour overseas.

“I have not seen any overseas team losing a Test series here and then preparing turning tracks at home. We should be proud of what we have and at the same time look to improve so that wherever we play world over we give a good fight and win more games,” he said.

“Of course, there will be challenges and, world over, we have seen that it is very important to hold your forte in your home conditions whenever you are playing; it is very important to win those games and at the same time try to do well outside, and that has been the case.

“We have quite a few teams going abroad, visiting different countries and they have also lost there. I think, more often than not, we have this tagline [of not being able to win away from home] only for the sub-continental teams; we don’t think about others who have visited different countries and not done well,” he added.


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Amit Dave/Reuters
Tags: India

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'We did well in SA despite losing series'

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Harish Kotian

Dhoni strongly refuted claims that the team is only winning games at home, while faring poorly overseas.

“We lost in the last series in South Africa and before that we didn’t perform well in England and Australia, but other than that we have done really well in West Indies, New Zealand or South Africa before that.

“I think this is a tag line which has been associated with us and you guys [media] just love to say it. But, for us as a team, we want to do well. If you see in South Africa, we did very well in the two-Test series.

“We lost the second Test because we did poorly in one session of two-and-half hours, because of which we were on the receiving end. Apart from that, I think we have done well on our tours apart from England and Australia,” he said.


Photographs: Rogan Ward/Reuters

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Spinners need to understand their role while playing abroad

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Harish Kotian

Dhoni also pointed out that the Indian spinners need to understand their roles when playing Test matches away from home where pitches don't offer much assistance.

"The spinners will have to accept that when they travel abroad and when they’re bowling on the first day wicket, their role is slightly different.

They need to have a bit more patience and not give them runs, so that you are also building pressure from one end. They get late turn from the third or fourth days and that’s the time they need to go in for the kill.

“When they play more and more games outside India, they’ll start accepting the fact that in their first 9-10 over spells in India they might get one-two or more wickets.

“Maybe, outside, they need to be more patient in their first spell, especially if they are bowling on the first day of the Test match. It’s a bit tough on them but till the time we find a seaming all-rounder they’ll have to bear that," he said.  


Image: R Ashwin
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images
Tags: India

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